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Talking to Kids about Money

  • Posted on April 27, 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • It's never too early to start talking to kids about money.
  • The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience.
  • Recognize teachable moments, including at the bank, on payday, while shopping, and when planning a vacation.
  • Encourage your kids to ask questions about money. If you don't know the answer, find out together.

How soon is too soon to talk to your kids or grandkids about money?

If they’re old enough to ask for a toy or a bike, they’re old enough to start learning financial lessons that will last a lifetime.

The best financial lessons are part of everyday experience. Look for opportunities to talk about money and to read books and play games that center around spending money wisely. Be open and honest when you discuss your financial experiences—good or bad.

Here are some examples of teachable moments to help you get started:

At the bank

When you go to the bank, bring your children with you and show them how transactions work. Ask the manager to explain how the bank operates, how money generates interest, and how an ATM works. You could also ask about a tour of the bank.

On payday

Discuss how your pay is budgeted to pay for housing, food, and clothing and how a portion is saved for future expenses such as college tuition and retirement.

At the market

It’s easy to give clear examples of “needs” and “wants” using different kinds of foods at a grocery store. Milk (for strong bones) is a need; soft drinks are a want. Explain the benefits of comparison shopping, coupons, and store brands.

Chores and allowances

Assign chores and give them a monetary value. Discuss ways to budget and divide allowances. Encourage children to set a financial goal, such as saving for a bike, and figure out how to achieve it.

Paying bills

Explain the many ways that bills can be paid: over the phone or by paper check, electronic check, or online check draft. Discuss how each method of paying bills takes money out of your account. Be sure to cover late penalties, emphasizing the importance of paying bills on time.

Using credit cards

Explain that credit cards are a loan and need to be repaid. Share how a credit card statement comes in the mail each month with a bill. Go over the features of different types of cards, such as ATM, debit, and credit cards.

Browsing the Internet

While online, explain to your children how valuable their personal information and privacy is to you, to them, and to online predators. Discuss the risks and benefits of sharing certain information. Then, as a family, make a list of rules for keeping personal information safe online.

Planning a vacation

Whether you are planning an outing to a local amusement park or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, emphasize the value of saving as a family. Set a family savings goal that involves your children. Figure out the cost and discuss how everyone can help reach the goal.


Always encourage your children to ask questions about money. If you don’t know the answer, research it together or ask your banker.

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